By Bryan Gallion
For Unwind magazine
Navigating a 1,250-acre campus like the University of Maryland’s can be difficult at times, but having a shuttle system can make a big school feel a lot smaller, or at least more accessible.
DOTS’ Shuttle-UM allows students and visitors to travel to various destinations in a quick and efficient manner. However, the Department of Transportation Services made several updates to the system at the start of this semester, forcing many bus riders to familiarize themselves with the routes and adjust accordingly.
“Change is really hard for college students,” sophomore education major Lauren Bernardo said. “Once they get a routine, they get angry when it changes.”
DOTS took to social media on Aug. 11 to notify students, tweeting “Fall 2015 Shuttle schedules available online! Make sure to check them out. Changes this year & new routes.” Although changes were, in fact, announced and various new components of the system were shared on Facebook and Twitter, not all changes were explicitly stated.
“Before, my bus would stop at every stop, even if there wasn’t someone at the stop waiting,” said Iris Zao, a sophomore and soon-to-be nursing student. “One time this semester, there was no one at my stop and I forgot to press the button, and I completely missed it and was late to work. I didn’t really hear about the changes until I noticed that the bus would just pass a stop and I would miss it.”
Due to the proximity to the new Landmark student apartments, which failed to pay for a stop, buses no longer service Fraternity Row. Students now have to walk to Ritchie or Montgomery Hall to catch a ride.
“I live behind Frat Row and I usually walk to get on campus now because the next closest bus stop is by Ritchie, which is a little farther away,” explained sophomore education major Bridget Delehanty. “There’s also a stop behind Frat Row, but it’s the Green loop and not Orange, which is inconvenient [for me] because it’s a longer loop.”
Other route changes include the Blue shuttle, which added Montgomery Hall back into its route. The bus no longer stops in front of Commons 5 and 6 or on Knox Road.
However, during weekdays, the View and Varsity shuttles follow the original route. The Courtyards route has also seen alterations, now stopping along Campus Drive and at several locations on Paint Branch Drive.
While some students were forced to relearn ways to travel around campus as a result of changes to the Shuttle-UM system, the new bus routes have not affected other frequent bus users.
“I ride the bus every day and I don’t think the new routes are that big of a deal,” Bernardo said. “I think people don’t like to be inconvenienced and get used to something new.”
DOTS created a new route, Shuttle 140, to go to this university’s Carey School of Law in Baltimore on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The new IKEA route runs between campus, IKEA and the Beltway Plaza Mall on Saturdays.
The Franklin Park at Greenbelt Station and Greenbelt routes were terminated, but two new routes have been added to replace them. One travels to Greenbelt and one travels to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
The final changes occur for the Purple, Blue, Gold and Green lines, which now start operating at 10 a.m. on weekends, as opposed to 5:30 p.m. as they have in the past.